Page 1327 - Week 04 - Thursday, 30 March 2017

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The amendments in this bill will enable those parties who have already entered into an order or who have been through a court process already to come back and seek a change to that order. This acknowledges that there will be families involved who will be directly impacted. The hope is that the parties to the order actually come to some sort of resolution together on the way forward; that they are looking to the future or that they seek to make arrangements for changed circumstances. We do not want to make this any harder than it has to be.

I support the moves by the Attorney-General in seeking feedback from important experts on this issue. That is quite the opposite of Mrs Dunne’s assertion that the government has ignored Mrs Kikkert’s amendments. The Attorney-General and his office spent the day yesterday speaking to legal practitioners, including the Law Society, the Bar Association, the courts, the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Legal Aid and the Victims of Crime Commissioner, who all confirmed to the Attorney-General that they did not support Mrs Kikkert’s amendments.

For me, to be able to get our whole system working as best it can is the best outcome for supporting and protecting our community. As I said earlier this week, the reforms contained in the family violence amendment bill being debated today represent a best-practice approach to responding to domestic and family violence and sexual violence within our legal system.

MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (11.33): I thank those in this Assembly who have stood today to speak on behalf of protecting children. In my role as shadow minister for families, youth and community services, I likewise pledged to be relentless in making sure that this happens when the wellbeing of children and their lives, in many cases, is at risk. It is essential that we get the legislation right. That is certainly the case when dealing with issues of personal and family violence.

In raising these issues I have also discharged my duty as an elected representative of the people of the ACT to bring their voice into this chamber. The concerns are not only my own but also theirs. As I mentioned before, the many stakeholders we have spoken to have all agreed to my amendments and wish that they would be here to voice their opinion, but they cannot because of the government’s intimidation and bullying.

By permission, I have brought with me into this chamber today an image of Jakob Oakey. Jakob was a young victim of domestic and personal violence who took his own life in February last year after the system that was supposed to protect him failed. I hope that Jakob’s image will remind all of us how important it is to get things right. I merely ask that in this case we be certain that we are getting things right.

Question put:

That the amendments be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

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